Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Sunday, 31 July 2011

Lammas/Lughnasadh

The Lammas Festival at the beginning of August is one of the four Celtic Cross Quarter Festivals. Lammas looks back to a time when people were much more intertwined and connected to the land and their lives were governed by the cycle of the seasons and the growing of food to keep them alive.

This is the time of the year where we gather in the harvest, of wheat or what ever else we have grown and to give thanks for the ( hopefully) bountiful harvest which the earth has blessed us with.

This is what I gathered from my polytunnel early this morning. I have harvested much much more during today but didin't take any pictures......sorry!

I also made some corn and lavender favours last night, which I will keep over winter until Imboc ( in early February) I will then burn the favours on the fire and scatter the ashes on the soil where I am going to start the new seasons plantings. So the Wheel of the Year turns around.......

Whatever you harvest today and in the weeks to come I hope you have a fruitful, fulfilled and happy  time.

A blessed Lammas day to you all.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Sitting room - finally near to completion!

Compost Mansions was two, 1906 semi detached cottages which were knocked into one house in 1980. It is made of brick. Although this chimney breast is local stone, and the beam is local oak and the hearth is a very old local stone Herefordshire Cider pressing trough, they are NOT in keeping with the house and actually took up loads of space in the room.

 From this



We have lived with all this for many years but always wanted to get rid of it as well as improve the internal insulation of the room and also do something about the not great concrete floor ( especially around the edges of the room!)






So in Nov 2010 we started on the huge renovation and building work to insulate the walls, re lay the floor and re build the sitting room.



This involved a LOT of work, including taking up the concrete floor and re laying it with insulation underneath, taking down the fake stone chimney breast and taking out the old and rather useless woodburner.




 See those cobwebs? There were some seriously HUGE spiders living behind that false stone wall!

In early spring Compostman hurt his back in a fairly major way, which put a stop to work for a couple of months as I am not able to do the heavy work needed, either dueto MY bad back etc  - this was a bit of a blow as all came to a grinding halt.

BUT we got back to work eventually and then we got a local builder ( he lives 2 fields away from us!) to come and quote to re instate the fireplace opening and move the cider pressing stone into the new opening. Compostman and I could have done this work, but it would have taken us longer AND  we both still had bad backs, so we paid someone else to do it.


They came this week and did a terrific job  - doing this we have gained so much extra floor space - more than 15 inches of floor, due to the edge of the hearth moving back!



 Then Geoff the plasterer arrived yesterday and in the space of 6 hours turned rough brickwork and damaged plaster into a marble like finish. - amazing to watch him at work.


Filling in all the gaps with render






 Final polish - it dried to a pale pink finish!



This is what it will look like with the new stove in situ.

We are off to get flooring and choose paint tomorrow - Nick the stove fitter is visiting on Monday morning to see what is needed to fit the new Burley woodburner, which is also arriving sometime on Monday.

After being out of our main living room since last Nov (!) I am SO excited that we are near to the end of a very long building and renovation process. I am SO proud of Compostman for all the hard work he has had to do, there is SO much more work I have not mentioned as I have only talked about the floor and stove and fireplace stuff, but he has worked so hard on all the other stuff and it has been a huge load of work for him , especially as he has work, things to do on our smallholding, the wood and all sorts else to do.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Archaeology!

Just back from day out in Hereford with Compostgirl, went to an Archaeology event at the Museum Resource and Learning Centre, which was having a Bronze Age Bonanza day from 11 until 3 ..we made a Beaker pot, a Lunula necklace ( a gold "c" shape torc) did some excavating ( with real finds!) some recording, woad tattoos, flint knapping and fire lighting, and a fab tour of the store rooms - which was incredible.
















Cg was a delight to be out with - engaged, amusing, charming, interested etc etc and all in all we have had a fab day.















AND while I was out the builders turned up...and we now have a fab new fireplace excavated from the chimney breast....and not much mess. It looks really good and when the plasterer comes on Thurs we can GET ON WITH DECORATING and then we can GET BACK INTO the room

Friday, 8 July 2011

Visit to Ludlow.


 
 Ludlow Castle in the late after noon murk



 Woodstores at Derham House







The house itself.


Home of Clearview stoves








Lots of lovely rooms in this mansion, all set out as a showroom for Clearview products.



I liked the old kitchen best, this Clearview is 27 years old and still going strong.

Compostgirl went off on a week long Activity Holiday with school and while she was away we had a few days out. One was to Ludlow, where we had lunch, wandered around the town and castle and then went to Dinham House, home and showroom for Clearview Stoves.



We are still arguing  discussing about which new woodburner make to get, a Burley or a Clearview.!
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